A Eulogy for a Hated Man

Ahmad Chalabi died this week of a heart attack. He is one of the most agreed-upon villains in DC circles. Democrats hate him for having fooled Clinton. Republicans hate him for having suckered W. In spite of his reputation as a con-man extraordinaire, however, Chalabi is a very plausible hero to millions of Shi'ite Iraqis: his tireless campaign to convince Washington of Saddam's WMD program is what brought the US to Iraq, and removed Saddam from their throats.

One of those writes in his memory.
Chalabi’s most revealing, and most cited, soliloquy from February 2004 goes: “We are heroes in error. As far as we’re concerned we’ve been entirely successful. That tyrant Saddam is gone and the Americans are in Baghdad. What was said before is not important. The Bush administration is looking for a scapegoat. We’re ready to fall on our swords if he wants.” He improvised the “heroes in error” bit on the fly. The rest of the scripting was mine. He probably shouldn’t have read out a 27 year-old’s snarky comeback to drive the plot....

I broke with him in September 2004. I have never discussed the reasons for that break, neither in person nor in print. Chalabi’s very human and personal foibles put stress on our saint-disciple relationship. When I caught him lying to me, because he didn’t want to see himself through my newly-opened eyes (another very human thing), the break became inevitable. He often cited a line from the Quran, in the words of immortal saint al-Khidhir (Elijah, I guess) to Moses, which paraphrased into English goes something like, “Didn’t I tell you that you wouldn’t have the stomach for me?"
The rest of the eulogy is worth reading, if only better to understand what has passed before our eyes.

1 comment:

Ymar Sakar said...

The State Department were traitors when they sabotaged Bush II's campaign in war. Since they scuttled him but had nobody to replace him with, except Bremer. The Pentagon were always sitting around waiting on the State Department, which at best did nothing. Bush had to change cabinet officers in 2004, then they got Ambas. Crocker and Petraeus.